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From Mexico to Dortmund

The International Summer Program (ISP) makes it possible for students from TU Dortmund University’s overseas partners to spend eight weeks in classes with Dortmund students. In exchange, Dortmund students have the opportunity to study abroad with a full tuition waiver. Emilio García Valdés from the Instituto Tecnológico y de Estudios Superiores de Monterrey (ITESM) in Mexico shares his experiences.

What motivated you to participate in the International Summer Program?

During the 11th grade I was actually an exchange student in Gütersloh, and I fell in love with Germany. The program was an excellent opportunity for me to come back to Germany. Now I am able to spend my summer vacation earning credit for my studies, taking classes on German and European culture and improving my German. In addition there are some academic classes that are not available in Mexico. These eight weeks are full of input for me, and now I am absolutely positive that I want to pursue a master‘s degree in Germany.

What were your expectations coming into the program?

We are joining classes that have already been going for half a semester. I worried that the courses would either require too much previous knowledge or would be too superficial in the short time. The fact is I feel challenged to the perfect extent. I am in the engineering track of the program, so I mainly have classes in engineering, but also some in language and culture. The courses in the cultural track are also very interesting. They highlight the change of perspective: through the various cultural backgrounds of the participants we learn to contribute our own points of view but also to expand them.

Regarding the organization of the program, my expectations were exceeded: I was able to dive right into things here. My „Dortmund Double” student mentor introduced me to campus life and showed me around the city. After watching our first soccer match together a real friendship actually blossomed. This is a contact that I will definitely hold on to and a program that I would love to start up back in Mexico.

You are traveling quite a bit throughout German-speaking regions and seeing many different things. What have you noticed is so special about Dortmund?

I definitely am – last week I went to a classical concert in Schönbrunn Palace in Vienna. That was an experience! Dortmund does not have a palace like that. You wouldn’t necessarily say that Dortmund is a beautiful city; but it does have the nicest people. Everything here is so honest and real. What I love about Dortmund is the cultural variety. There are not just many cultures here; rather, these cultures actually mix, interact and blend. That can lead to conflicts at times, but for me Dortmund is an example of a truly international city. You need only to walk through the city or across the campus, and you can see it all.

About Emilio García Valdés:

Emilio García Valdés is in his 8th semester of Chemical Engineering at the Instituto Tecnológico y de Estudios Superiores de Monterrey (ITESM) in Mexico and has been taking classes since June 2nd at TU Dortmund. The 23-year-old will finish his studies in Mexico next semester and plans to come back to Germany for his master’s degree or PhD.

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